Make it Queer: Old RomCom Cliches for A New Diverse Era
By Lilah Suzanne
The success of diverse romcoms Love, Simon, Crazy Rich Asians, The Feels, Set It Up, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is surprising only to people who haven’t been desperate for sweet, cute movies where someone who looks or loves like them finally gets to fall in love and get a happily ever after. Some of us are still waiting. Romcoms are sometimes considered junk food, fluff, boring been-there-done that silliness. But happy, funny stories are important, especially for people who don’t usually get them. Romcom tropes are ripe for use by movies, books, and shows that feature diverse characters, really any of them would work, but here are ten of those tropes that would be particularly perfect for queer characters.
Every good romcom has a meet-cute, that random chance encounter with the person who becomes so much more than the guy who was reaching for the same glove or the girl who spilled her drink on the main character. But it’s not just straight cis characters who can connect with a stranger in adorably quirky ways. I obviously can’t speak for the entire bisexual community, but I can tell you that I get awkward and flustered around attractive people of all genders, all the time, everywhere. Imagine all of the queer meet-cute possibilities!
Unexpected Love Interest.
This one is easy. Is she into me or just friendly? Are they flirting or are they just Like That. Wait, I thought he was straight! Hold on, wasn’t she married to a man? Ohhhhh. Or childhood friends who lose touch and reconnect after one of them comes out as trans. How about a (non-problematic) remake of Tootsie with a gender fluid character. Or an opposites attract story with butch/femme characters that’s almost tailor-made for this genre.
News flash, LGBTQ+ people are also journalists, writers, magazine employees, photographers, architects, and bakers. AKA the only jobs that exist in romcoms. And we can be pretty darn whimsical when we put our minds to it—see any Pride parade ever. And since we’ve historically been pushed to the margins and sometimes denied traditional carrier paths, LGBTQ people are also skilled at making their own way and thus possess the strong and independent, yet vulnerable traits every romcom protagonist needs.
Vacation Love Affair.
Write me a queer-friendly tropical local where two people from conservative small towns fall hopelessly in love but know it can never last (or can it?) A secluded cabin the woods where an introverted artist type meets a buff outdoorsy type. A sweet queer romcom set in the quaint French country-side, for no reason other than there should be a cute queer romcom set in the French country-side.
Every good romcom needs a quirky bestie over-invested in their friend’s love life and considering how import building community is for LGBTQ+ folks, our lead character should be able to find a slew of supportive pals no problem. And if not, we’ve had so much experience being relegated to the zany sidekick role in so many movies and TV shows we can just support ourselves, thank you very much.
Forget tragic tales of coming out, facing rejection and struggling to come to terms with ones identity. We deserve hilarious scheming. Shenanigans. Zingers. Madcap capers. Please, please let us be funny.
The And Yet… Moment.
You know the one. When our hapless lead lists all the reason they definitely absolutely one hundred percent do not have feelings for their mismatched love interest. And then they realize. This moment works particularly well for queer characters. I’ve had complicated feelings for close friends, coworkers, friends of friends, the cute cargo-pants wearing neighbor lady who recently helped me rescue two muddy dogs who’d escaped their yard (Do I have a thing? Yes. Did I write a story about this thing? Also yes.)
Running Toward Love.
What a metaphor for the LGBTQ+ community, right? I mean, pride, rainbows, love is love is love. We’re pretty much designed to run, literally and figuratively, towards the people and community that make us feel loved and accepted. We run towards love every day, figuratively, let’s see it happen literally. Give LGBTQ people that When Harry Met Sally moment. (No, not the deli scene moment. The other one.)
Kissing In The Rain/Snow/Airport/Street.
Because everyone deserves to imagine themselves in a swooning, sweeping kiss while “Unchained Melody” plays in the background and the rain pours down or the snow festively falls, or after a grand declaration of true love in the middle of crowded city or busy airport or baseball field. Everyone.
Love Against All Odds.
Yeah LGBTQ+ people have this covered. Queer love is a triumph, so let’s see more of it.
About the Author
Lilah Suzanne is a queer author of Amazon bestseller Broken Records, part of the Spotlight series along with Burning Tracks and Blended Notes. Lilah also authored Spice, the novellas Pivot & Slip and After the Sunset, and the short story Halfway Home, which was featured in the holiday anthology If the Fates Allow. A writer from a young age, Lilah resides in North Carolina and mostly enjoys staying indoors, though sometimes ventures out for concerts, museum visits, and quiet walks in the woods.
Check out her new novel Jilted, coming November 8! From Amazon.com: Carter’s fiancé is in love with someone else. Link has just been left at the altar. After bonding over mutual heartbreak at the would-be reception’s open bar, Link and Carter pass out in the honeymoon suite—and are mistaken for the happy newlywed couple the next morning. Reluctant to deal with the fallout from their breakups, they embark on an exciting week of fake honeymooning, during which Carter starts to have real feelings for Link. A genderqueer artist who lives life by their own rules, Link inspires Carter to build a new future. Against the eclectic and electric backdrop of New Orleans, Carter and Link have to decide if a second chance at love is in the cards, or if they’re only meant to be sidelined in someone else’s story.
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